No matter your age, gender, or lifestyle, you may be surprised to learn that around 50% of the UK population have a dental phobia. Even parents can be fearful of going to the dentist, which can have a negative impact on your oral health and hygiene if you’re not seen by a dental professional. It’s only natural that you will want to encourage your child to maintain good oral hygiene and see the dentist, but if you fall into the statistic above, here are 8 tips you can use to manage your dental anxiety and combat your fears.
Find the Right Dentist
First and foremost, it’s vital that you find a dentist in your area who can cater to your needs. Whether you need a check-up, hygienist appointment, or are considering cosmetic treatment, finding a reputable and reliable dental practice should be your first step. Speaking to friends and family can be a great way to get a better insight into which dentist practices are the most popular. Finding a dentist who makes you feel at ease from the minute you walk through the door is important.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
If your dental fears are spiralling out of control, you may want to consider sedation dentistry. This service is aimed at patients whose anxiety has turned into an extreme phobia. You can learn more about the process at The Dentist. This is a brand-new dental clinic in Leeds that offers conscious sedation for anxious patients. The team provides a range of services such as teeth straightening, facial aesthetic treatments, cosmetic dentistry, and bone regeneration.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Once you’ve made it to your dental appointment and are in the dentist’s chair, your heart rate may be through the roof. Whether you’re there for a simple check-up or are having extensive treatment, it’s important that you remain calm and relaxed throughout. There are several breathing exercises that you can do, which can slow down your heart rate and reduce anxiety. When people get nervous, they are prone to holding their breath, which can increase the feeling of panic, so using a meditation technique can help reduce stress levels and ensure you have a pleasant experience at the dentist.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
The food and drink that you have before your dental appointment can heighten stress levels and put you on edge. To ensure your visit goes smoothly, it’s important that you avoid caffeine beforehand. It’s advised to stick with foods that are high in protein, which are known to produce a calming effect. Foods and drinks full of sugar may increase energy levels, but leave you feeling more tense and anxious. Also, make sure that you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated during your appointment.
Bring a Friend
Many people decide to bring a family member or friend with them to their dental appointment. If you’re too anxious to be seen alone, you are allowed to bring a companion who can put your mind at ease. Knowing that someone you love and trust is by your side and understands your situation can help you relax and ensure your visit runs smoothly.
Communicate Your Fears
There is no shame in feeling dental anxiety, so if you have any worries or concerns, make sure that you let your dentist know before heading to your appointment. Dentists all over the country will have dealt with countless patients who are anxious, so communicating your fears and being honest and open with how you are feeling can set the tone for a comfortable and pleasant appointment.
Many dental phobias tend to stem from the sounds of drilling and equipment used. When at your dental appointment, there are lots of distractions that you can use to take your mind off things. Whether it’s by listening to your favourite music or using visualisation techniques that can help you imagine you’re somewhere else, using coping strategies to help relax you is important. Don’t feel hesitant to listen to music during your treatment, as your dentist will understand the reasoning behind it.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in many years, taking the plunge and even calling for an appointment is a big step in the right direction. Having things to look forward to and treating yourself for facing your dental fears can help keep you committed to going to your appointment. There are lots of rewards you can give yourself for each milestone you make, such as buying something nice or booking a weekend getaway. Giving yourself regular rewards will help you relate your dental visits with something fun.
While a certain level of apprehension is completely normal before your dental appointment, if your anxiety is affecting your oral health and stopping you from visiting the dentist, your fears and worries can escalate and have a damaging impact on your health. To help combat your dental fears, putting all the tips above into practice is advised.
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